I’m a massive fan of The Beatles, and I live in Liverpool, but I’ve never been to Penny Lane. Not even on patient transport. My mum never let me!
I used to live on the bus route where I could get on just by mine and, if I was so inclined, go all the way to Penny Lane, but my mum, who lived her life to a strict shopping list and the phrase ‘we’ve got food at home’ never deviated her plans to allow this to happen. And she forbidded my dad from taking me! I never found out why. I began to suspect Penny Lane never actually existed…
It does exist. I’ve seen the photographic evidence!
The most frustrating thing is, it would have been so easy! Just get on and stay on the bus. No changing buses, no walking to another bus stop, just one bus, one route and back again. But the suggestion always went the same way.
“No you’re not going to Penny Lane.”
“Because I said so, and that’s that!”
“We could just go, and stay on the bus and get on the next bus back.”
“You’re not going to Penny Lane, don’t go on.”
When I was a bit older and traveling on buses and trains by myself, to friends houses and a bit further afield, I thought if I planned it all out and just told my mum, like, ‘hey so on Saturday, me and this friend are gonna go to Penny Lane, okay? We’ll eat at this place at this specific time, and get this time bus back. Okay? Cool, all sorted!’ she’d have no option but to just accept it.
She did not accept it.
“You are not going to Penny Lane!! Don’t you even think about it!!”
The thing is, I got away with a few things, where I could prove my parents over protectiveness was over the top, after the fact, and some other things without mum and dad knowing, but I didn’t think I could get away with sneaking off to Penny Lane. And then just as my parents started accepting my own decisions on where I went, and what time I was getting home, my mobility worsened and I became a full time wheelchair user.
The bus route to penny lane didn’t have wheelchair access.
And then they changed all the bus routes and that bus didn’t go to Penny lane anymore. And then they dissolved that bus route altogether.
By the time I came through the other side of university the first time and being bed bound operation recovery and moving away and moving back, all the routes had changed. One good thing is wheelchair access is almost universal, but the route I’d have to take would involve changes, and getting there and back again within my social call time. Or an expensive taxi journey.
I think ive been thinking of this lately because of lockdown. I’m potentially looking at being stuck inside until there’s a vaccine, as people take more risks to get back to normality. The risk of dying from this hasn’t changed, and I worry as the death count continues to fall, it’ll go the same way as the flu, and the same attitude towards the coronavirus that has simmered under the surface from day 1: it’ll be up to the most at risk of dying from it to prevent themselves from catching it.
I feel like nobody has considered the idea that maybe the death count is falling because the virus is running out of people susceptable of dying from it, besides those of us lucky to have not caught it so far.
And the idea of having to stay indoors until there is absolutely no risk, when others are going back to work, education, visiting family, going on holiday, to the pub, not wearing a mask, not caring that they may be asymptomatic and spreading it… It’s so frustrating. So much of my life has been spent stuck inside as it is! And if I do my best to ensure I don’t catch the flu, and catch it anyway because other people aren’t ensuring they don’t spread it, then it’s obvious what the outcome will be eventually with this.
It makes me wish I’d have been able to do things when I had the opportunity to do them, cos I don’t know when I’ll have the chance to next without literally risking my life, and the life of the people around me.
I need to get over my fear of heights so I can enjoy the skyline of Liverpool properly, I need to get over my fear of water and try and swim, and I need to go to Penny Lane, and get a photo of myself by the sign!
It will be so much more difficult than twenty years ago. Why couldn’t I have gone there twenty years ago?
Maybe when I get there, I’ll find out.